Auto union president: Romney would not have saved Detroit car companies

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Critics of the bailouts note the federal government is unlikely to recover its outstanding $1.9 billion investment in Chrysler and its investments in GM beyond the $6.7 billion loan it gave the company, which includes purchasing $50 billion in shares of the company. The fact that the government still owns a percentage of the company's shares has led some conservatives to mockingly refer to GM as "Government Motors."

But King said Tuesday in response to Romney's remarks that "President Obama and Democrats in Congress provided emergency bridge loans for an auto industry that was a casualty of a collapsed credit market, when no private investors or companies would provide financing. 

"The loans -- which were predicated on painful sacrifices by workers, management and other stakeholders -- enabled the companies to return quickly to profitability and repay the loans years ahead of schedule," he said.

King said the revival of the U.S. automakers was "a great national success story that most Americans are very proud of."

"It's an example of how business, labor and the government can work together to find solutions to some of the nation's most difficult problems," he said. 

"Mitt Romney's values of profits-over-people are wrong for Michigan, wrong for workers and wrong for all Americans who value hard work, shared sacrifice and shared prosperity," he added of the presumptive GOP nominee.

Campaigning in Ohio this week, Romney argued that the bailouts followed his advice of putting the auto companies through a "managed bankruptcy."

"My own view, by the way, was that the auto companies needed to go through bankruptcy before government help," he said in an interview with Cleveland television station WEWS-TV of the auto loans which started under former President George W. Bush but have become closely associated with President Obama.

"And frankly, that’s finally what the president did," Romney continued. "He finally took them through bankruptcy. That was the right course I argued for from the very beginning."

Democrats have pounced on Romney's comments, calling them "a new low in dishonesty, even for him."

"Mitt Romney may think he can fool the American people by hiding his belief that we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt,' but the American people won't let him," former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said in a statement released by the Obama campaign. "Mitt Romney seems to think Americans will just forget the past and his very vocal and clear opposition to the successful auto rescue."

This post was updated with new information at 2:48 p.m.

Justin Sink contributed to this report. 


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